making music
18. February 2015 By Walter Price 0

J.P. Kallio’s Musician Quick Tips Pt. 4

making musicby J.P. Kallio


In my nearly two decades as a full time musician I have learned a thing or two about this business. I also have become very fast at assessing what works and what does not when it comes to promoting, recording and performing your music.

These quick tips are simple actions that you can put to use straight away.


Appreciate Your Fans

I mentioned before how dangerous it can be to get stuck on numbers. So we spend all our time trying to get more followers on our social media sites. For starters, those numbers mean nothing if you don’t know what to do with them. I also mentioned before how important it is to build your mailing list. So if someone follows you on Twitter, figure out how you can get them to sign up to your mailing list. Hint, free music.

But you should spend at least as much time, if not even more to keep your existing fans engaged. Start a conversation, or even better get involved in an already existing conversation. Post stuff, good stuff, cool stuff, silly stuff, regularly and loads of it. Make your existing fans your priority number 1.

Get In The Business

I know you just want to play music all day long. I know, that’s what I want as well. But I had the choice of keeping music as a hobby, or start treating it as a business. And there lies the difference of an amateur and professional. Professional is not scared to get their hands dirty in the business.

Educate your self. Learn how to make money from your music. Learn how to register your songs with royalties collection associations. How to deal with agents professionally, so they will want to book you again. Learn how to market your music online. The longer I am at this, the more I am reminded that there are no short cuts, you need to learn how to do it all your self first. And be nice, no body wants to work with an asshole!

Don’t Over Think

Too often we waste time on the little details that really does not make that much difference in the overall picture. We tweak and tweak just the tiniest things on our website, our recordings, or even something so simple as social media post.

Here’s the thing, if you spend an hour pondering over something that is only a small detail and is not crucial to the over all picture, could you not use that time for something that actually would make a difference?

Recordings will never be perfect! That’s a fact of life and applies to any form of art. This does not mean you should not give it your best shot. But if you are over working a part that really does not add so much to the track, or most people won’t even hear, move on. That guitar take is not perfect? Will it be, or are you spending expensive studio time practising?

As to websites, they should be work in progress all the time, so just put it out there and feel free to tweak it tomorrow again.

The only time you should hold back is when dealing with hostility. That is the time to take a breath, think it over before lashing out. Is it really worth lashing out, or do you just lower your self to their level?


Here’s another recording quick tip that often gets overlooked. We all love our nice detailed condenser microphones when it come’s to recording vocals. I had the privilege to try AKG C12 once, and I can tell you it was amazing! But so was the price tag as well…

But the thing with home recording is that we don’t always have the best sounding rooms when it comes to acoustics. Here is where your good old dynamic SM58 comes handy. Dynamic microphones pick less of the roominess of the space you record in. So if your vocals sound like you are in a box, try swapping your condenser to a dynamic microphone. You might be surprised of the results ;-)

You think dynamic microphone is not up for the job? Shure make some great dynamic microphones, SM 8 is a legendary, used by Michael Jackson and Metallica to mention few. Bono from U2 is known for using Shure Beta 58 in the studio, so never underestimate that humble workhorse.

The dynamic microphone might just be the cheapest way to deal with nasty sounding room.

Don’t Let It Get To You

So I hope you have put some of these Quick tips to use so far,registered your domain, set up a mailing list… Now here’s the thing. No matter what you do, you will always run in to a few rotten souls on your way. Lets face it, you are trying to share your music with as many people as possible. And by nature, sooner or later you will run in to one of these people who think they know how the world is supposed to be run, and anything else than their way is wrong. And of course these are the people who are very verbal online…

When you reach out to new people on your preferred social media, if you do it in an honest way, in my experience 99.9% of the people do appreciate it. But that 0.1% really know how to make you feel rotten… Well you need to build a tough skin. The most important thing is not to react to it. By rising up to it, you are lowering your self to their level. Just move on. Don’t let it get to you.

Also things like people unsubscribing from your mailing list, you cannot afford to lose sleep over that. It is actually a good thing that the people who are not really interested in what you do filter out of your list. It makes for a much stronger list. And believe me, your mailing list will be one of your biggest assets in the long run :-)

Music business is tough business. For every two steps you take, someone will try to drag you back one step. Don’t let it get to you.


J.P. Kallio is a singer-songwriter 

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